U.S. Senate Votes to Permanently Authorize LWCF
Good news! In a 92-8 vote, U.S. Senators supported passage of the Natural Resources Management Act, a public lands package that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Your advocacy and support of PTNY and LWCF helped make this happen! Thank you.
The LWCF is America's most important conservation and recreation program that was left expired for an unprecedented 135 days, resulting in millions of dollars in lost funding for crucial environmental and conservation projects (click for more information on lost LWCF funds).
The LWCF has helped to fund local projects in nearly every community in every corner of the United States. In New York, more than $336 million in LWCF funds have been invested in protecting forests, wildlife refuges, community parks and trails. LWCF has protected places like Gateway National Recreation Area, Sterling Forest, Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Adirondack Lakes in Hamilton County, and Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn to the Confluence Park.
The passage of the Public Lands Package on February 12 was called by the Washington Post, “the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade” and the New York Times called it a, "rare victory for environmentalists," since typically the LWCF is only authorized for a limited number of years at a time which perpetuates uncertainty and chances for lost funds every couple of years.
PTNY, as part of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, worked to augment the coalition’s outreach to constituents and supporters. Advocacy efforts have included letter and educational campaigns, as well as direct outreach to legislators.
LWCF efforts are not complete quite yet. The bill for permanent re-authorization needs to be passed by the House of Representatives. But we are closer than ever!
PTNY will continue to work with the LWCF coalition to advocate for full, dedicated funding. While re-authorization means that the LWCF will never have the chance to expire, funding is not yet guaranteed. LWCF funds do NOT come from taxpayers but rather from royalties paid by energy companies drilling off-shore for oil and gas. This amounts to $900 million yearly for possible funding. Yet, nearly every year, Congress breaks its own promise to the American people and diverts much of this funding to uses other than conserving our most important lands and waters.
Interested in learning more? See our advocacy page for ways to add your voice and get involved!